Gluten-free seems to be the latest fad that’s taken hold of health fanatics everywhere, with best-selling books calling gluten the enemy.
They say that gluten is a major source of a bunch of health problems and that ditching it makes people feel healthier and even happier.
The gluten-free diet has become so big that it’s actually become the most searched diet on Google in the US.
Yet despite the hype surrounding it, scientific evidence doesn’t support all these ‘wonderful’ health claims.
For those with celiac disease (currently affecting about one per cent of the population), staying away from gluten isn’t just a fad life choice, it’s vital to their health. They have to eliminate every trace of gluten from their diet, otherwise it can cause a multitude of risks - their small intestine becomes inflamed, plus their skin, teeth, bones, liver and the nervous system may become affected.
Gluten-free diets lack fibre and it’s common to see vitamin deficiencies in those who are on it. Plus, gluten-free food products are packed with sugar and fat to ensure it’s palatable, which kinda defeats the purpose of a diet in the first place.
Gluten isn’t just in bread – it’s also found in beer, plus many sauces and seasonings. Giving it up requires constant monitoring of everything you’re eating and to be honest, it’s just exhausting.
Some people with irritable bowel syndrome can benefit off eliminating wheat but it’s unsure why. There are some nutritionists and physicians who swear by a gluten-free diet for preventing autoimmune diseases, reducing inflammation, increasing energy, treating depression and even helping autism - but none of this has been proved by science.
A study was conducted to see the effect of the diet on competitive cyclists and it found that it did not boost energy.
Giving up gluten may seem like a quick fix to fast-track weight loss but it’s actually depriving you of a whole list of nutrients. So if you’re not celiac, it’s best you try an alternative.
But also, if it’s not absolutely vital to your health to give up bread, why would you?
Go on, treat yourself.